He wasn’t budging, this Big Black Smoke. “I have as much right to be here as you, red boy,” he declared from his cheap, green box seat. “You ain’t paying no rent.” He settles back, crosses his arms behind his head. “Neither am I.”
Greg Ogden argued that he is about to pay the rent but is still trying the apartment out at times.
“Times what?” replies the larger, black man. “42?”
Greg didn’t know the answer to that. He didn’t know everything. He remained silent, contemplating whether to leave. But *he* had as much right to be here as Big Black Smoke. This remained a stare down for now. He told him that.
“Hey,” then declared BBS. “You ain’t that red dude who’s going to marry that red haired gal in the church next door this coming Sunday? She’s been talking about you. About how you become cross sometimes.”
Greg said he wasn’t this person, although he likes to dress in red. Greg Ogden explains that he use to be a red mechanoid playing in a punk band with 2 other, differently colored mechanoids. “We got kicked out of Olde Lapara Towne due to a noise ordinance,” he furthered. “We came here to escape, to *hide* and regroup. But this place…”
“I know I know,” responded Big Black Smoke, looking around at all the red walls surrounding them. Like a cell. “This place changes you.” He was starting to feel sorry for the boy. “You know Golden Jim, the police chief? Don’t confuse him with Golden Joe. That’s a chef. You see what I mean about this town, boy? This New (Lapara) Towne? Same as the old town, hmph.”
Greg says he’s trying to leave but can’t. “Stewart’s dead,” he offered, nodding toward the window with the bay view. “Newton owns that ship out there now. That’s his brother.”
“I *know* who Newton is.” Big Black Smoke resisted the urge to call him ‘fool’, but he’s certainly trying to step off a ledge now. “You can’t leave once you stay here long enough.” Big Black Smoke had figured out who Greg Ogden was, and that this was his old apartment. Golden Jim had told him about the 2 Greg(g)s, one with the extra ‘g’, or, better (explained Golden Jim), the ‘g’ *stolen* from his last name. This theft bought him some jail time. Golden Jim wasn’t here then, but, again, this was legend. Like the day Pierre Schaeffer rode into town and stole all the Berries and took them off to La La Land. Even nimble Thimble couldn’t escape. Ahh, Thimble, thought Big Black Smoke, traveling back further in time to a thinner physique. Those were the days. The Dark Ages. I wish those old times could return. But Pierre changed all that. Him and the eye guy.
“This is *Jasper*, fool.” Big Black Smoke couldn’t help himself. “You’re stuck as much as those *flies* over in Central Park!”